Photographers' Blog

On the Sidelines of the Brazil World Cup

Miami, United States

Russell Boyce

As national soccer teams and the photographers who have been covering them start to trickle home from the Brazil World Cup, it’s time to revisit the “On the Sidelines” project.

This Reuters Pictures project was billed as a chance for photographers to share “their own quirky and creative view of the World Cup”. I thought that I’d examine what has been achieved.

The media bus driver is reflected in a mirror during the trip away from the Pernambuco arena in the rain in Recife June 28, 2014.  In a project called 'On the Sidelines' Reuters photographers share pictures showing their own quirky and creative view of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder    (BRAZIL - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP SOCIETY TRANSPORT) - RTR3WAK2

As a way of introducing the project, let me use a comparison. I’m intrigued by the notion that an animal that has been caged, but is well fed and well treated, will not exchange freedom from its pen for the uncertainty that this freedom might bring.

Likewise, working as a photographer at the World Cup comes with a kind of cage of security. You know what you are going to do, what time you are going to do it, and what is expected of you. You need to capture pictures of great sporting action, goals, celebrations, red cards and, of course, every important incident, be it Suarez’s teeth marks or the collision that led to Neymar’s broken vertebra. 

Brazil's Neymar screams in pain after being fouled by Colombia's Camilo Zuniga (not pictured) during their 2014 World Cup quarter-finals at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza July 4, 2014. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

For editors too, life can fall into a regular pattern. First, arrive at the office two hours before the start of the game and make sure all the technology works, and that tests have been received from the photographers.

Seeking refuge in Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

By Cathal McNaughton

Gaining the trust of asylum seekers I met in Sweden and taking pictures that would grab the viewer’s attention and convey the tremendous struggles and dangers they had faced was a challenge.

They were scared and suspicious and in most cases had family back in their homeland who were in danger.

As a photojournalist, the last thing I want to do is compromise someone’s life for a photograph, but I also needed to tell these people’s stories.

The soccer ball as protagonist

Brasilia, Brazil

By Ueslei Marcelino

Most Brazilians, rich or poor, are passionate about soccer. But that’s not to say that this love of the sport permanently unites the nation – recent protests over the World Cup have made that clear.

Brazilian society still suffers from class division and there is a wide gap between the wealthy and the less well-off. It seems to me that we Brazilians are not one people, but for a short while, whenever the national team plays, we can pretend we are.

Milton Souto is poor. Agenor Netto is wealthy. I went to photograph them in their respective homes as they watched Brazil play Chile on June 28th in a round-of-16 World Cup soccer match.

The good, the bad, and the ugly – diary of a World Cup photographer

Dylan Martinez, chief photographer for the United Kingdom and Ireland, is in Brazil to cover the World Cup. He’ll be keeping a diary of the highs and lows here.  

Sunday July 13

A sunny and very pleasant Rio de Janeiro

So how many nights, matches, sidelines, meals, pictures, headaches, national anthems, football chants, hotels, flights, taxis, new faces, friends, annoying people, breakfasts, uncomfortable beds, beards, repeats of useless sitcoms, stolen cameras, hotel laundries, bags, beers and dodgy rooms have we had now?

Answer: too many.

Well, after all that, there was this game of football. And Germany winning 1-0 was not my preferred score. Just saying. 

Did he bite?

Miami, Florida

By Russell Boyce

The shout went up “He’s bitten him! Suarez has just bitten him!”

It was the World Cup match between Uruguay and Italy, and both teams were playing for a place in the last 16.

The game was tense, with pictures streaming in from the match in Brazil to the remote picture-editing center we have set up in Miami.

A television replay and it looked pretty certain that Uruguay’s Luis Suarez had bitten Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder in an off-the-ball incident. But you can never tell 100 percent when looking at TV.

Heshan: a poisonous legacy

Heshan, China

By Jason Lee

Heshan, a village with a population of about 1,500 in China’s Hunan province, is sometimes given the grim label: “cancer village”.

Located some 1,200 kilometers (770 miles) from Beijing it stands in an area rich in realgar, or arsenic disulphide.

A villager washes clothes in a river with heavy arsenic concentrations through

Factories and mines sprang up to process this precious resource but they were shut down in 2011 because of the pollution they caused. It seems that even now, the consequences have not gone away: Heshan residents say that many have died from cancer caused by arsenic poisoning.

Tales of War: Scapa Flow and the Grand Scuttle

Orkney, United Kingdom

By Nigel Roddis

Flying over the lush, green islands of Orkney in Scotland, it is hard to imagine the area as an important naval base during the two World Wars. But a wide expanse of water south of Orkney mainland used to be just that.

An aereal view of part of the Orkney Islands, Scotland, May 3, 2014.The Orkney Islands North of the Scottish mainland was a major British Naval base during WWI and WWII. It was also the scene of the Grand Scuttle on June 21 1919 when 74 interned German battleships were scuttled on the orders of Rear Admiral Ludwig Von Reuter. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

The area, known as Scapa Flow, has seen its fair share of bloodshed. It was also the scene of the “Grand Scuttle,” when more than 50 German warships were sunk at the orders of their own Rear Admiral.

This strange event came about after Germany, defeated in World War One, had 74 ships interned at Scapa Flow.

Living the Peruvian dream

Gosen City, Lima, Peru
By Mariana Bazo

Life in the settlements on the outskirts of Lima can be very hard, but years of economic growth in Peru have helped benefit even some of its poorest residents. In one shantytown called Gosen City, a cluster of houses that grew up haphazardly around a garbage dump, this change is really starting to show.

Peru has experienced a decade-long boom, and although growth slowed somewhat last year, changes and development continue. The government has pledged to dramatically cut poverty rates, and while it still has a long way to go, around 490,000 Peruvians were raised out of poverty last year, according to official statistics.

I decided to go to Gosen City, which stands high on a hill above the capital, precisely because on previous visits I found it to be a place of extreme destitution. This time, however, I interviewed a group of people who in some ways have seen their lives improve in recent years.

Goals all over the world

London, United Kingdom

By Russell Boyce

Sometimes the best ideas are also the simplest ones, especially when you have the support of the world’s biggest news agency behind you.

Inspired by the energy generated by a Wider Image workshop with our photographers in South America, I wanted to work on a global story about the Brazil 2014 World Cup. So many superlatives are used to describe it: the world’s greatest show, the most watched tournament, the biggest sporting event.

I needed a big idea that could demonstrate the worldwide reach of football (or soccer, for our U.S. readers) and I wanted to include our global team of busy photographers. For them to find the time to get involved, the idea had to be simple.

Life on a leash

Daohui village, China

By William Hong

Every morning, as soon as Xie Juntu wakes up, he ties his grandson to a pillar. His aim, however, is not to torture the boy but to keep him safe and save the family from bankruptcy.

When I met him in the remote Chinese village of Daohui, Juntu’s grandson Guobiao looked like any other normal 11-year-old. The only difference was the rope that prevented him moving more than a few steps away from the place where he had been tied.

Juntu explained the situation. He said that when his daughter-in-law gave birth to Guobiao, a landslide blocked vehicles from leaving the village. It was a difficult labour. Four neighbours managed to carry the mother on foot to the nearest town with a maternity hospital, but it was too late to save the baby from suffering brain damage from lack of oxygen during the long birth.